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Infamy Again


Nicole Starleigh Yeager

Twenty-four hours after the first hi-jacked airplane struck the first of the World Trade Center towers, and the nation is still in shock. We still don't know how many fellow Americans we have lost. Many of us retreated to sleep early last night, unable to take any more of the horror brought on by some cowardly enemy. Some of us finally turned away from the television and turned off the radio. Some needed to go for a walk, alone, to try to sort everything out. Some of us gathered in our local churches and prayed. I, for one, could no longer watch the planes crashing into the towers, the people leaping out the windows on the fortieth, fiftieth, up to the eightieth or ninetieth floors while the camera followed them nearly all the way to the ground, and the deadly cloud of debris rolling out across the crippled city of New York. Listening to the people cry, watching the rescue workers with protective face masks as they frantically tried to pull the injured people away from the devastation and look for more survivors, staring at the debris-filled streets that made it look like a movie straight out of Hollywood tore at my heart. But even Hollywood could never create something as tragic and unexpected as this.

Time passes slowly. We are still in shock over the fact that four planes full of innocent travellers were hijacked for terrorist attack all within one dark hour. Both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, the West Wing of the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and the Somerset County, PA crash which was intended for Washington. The threat is still looming over our heads and grows larger every hour. Nuclear power plants stand tall in our land, providing us with the luxury of power . . . electricity . . . but it will be this luxury that will be our most feared attack. Imagine if they decide to target the nuclear power plants . . . there would be nothing left of America, or her people. In
Pennsylvania alone, there are at least 4 nuclear power plants. All across the country, these lethal weapons stand in our own back yards. So it would cost too much to shut the plants down? Money will mean nothing when 50-75% of Americans are dead because we provided the weapons to satisfy the terrorists' wildest fantasy.

The last time America was attacked like this, World War II broke out. Will there be war again? We want justice for this massacre of innocent Americans. But, can we handle World War III? We, as a people, have either survived World War II or learned its gruesome tales in textbooks and documentary videos. As a whole, we feel in our hearts severe hesitation about putting America through that again. We fear the mere thought of war, especially today, when enemy countries are just itching to use their nuclear warheads on us, knowing full well we would be wiped out as a country and boosting them ever so much closer to ruling the world. Our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, relatives, spouses, fiancÚs and friends will be called to war. Some will return. Some will not. Of those who do, most will never be the same. Can we bear that?

Our President believes we are a strong country. We are America. We are "One Nation under God." We must go on with our lives, as much like before as possible. Some of us will never step on a plane again. Some will cringe every time a plane flies overhead, watching its every move, wondering about the people onboard, holding their breath until it flies safely out of sight. Some will fear for their lives, for their children's lives. Most will fear the worst. Many will live through it. We have no other choice.

Are we under attack? If so, what will be next, another terrorist attack on more of our innocent people? Or an all-out World War against an enemy we aren't even sure of and we can't even find? There are people on the shores of Afghanistan who rejoice our loss. They are chanting, "God is dead." They dance in the streets and pass out candy like at a parade. God is not dead. God is here, now more present than ever. I believe He saw what was going to happen and tried to prevent as many deaths as possible. How else do you explain all the people who happened to wake up late this day and not make it in to work at the World Trade Center on time? How else do you explain the airline pilots whose flights were switched? How else do you explain the people who decided to scratch their original schedule and not go in to lower Manhattan as early as planned this day? Even though we have lost many, we could have lost many more. God prevented what He could. We must follow God even more closely now. He is our only hope.
Without God, we are nothing.

All of our pilots on the ill fated planes this day are heroes. National heroes. But the pilot of United Airlines flight 93 probably crashed his plane into an empty field purposely, leaving one less plane to devastate the nation further. He and all the passengers gave their lives in order to save many more in Washington DC, where the hijacked plane was said to be headed. The plane crashed in an empty field, far away from where anyone else would be hurt. The other pilots may have been shot and their planes taken over by flight-experienced terrorists. Can we imagine the fear they felt, knowing they were going to die, along with too many innocent people, with nothing they could do to stop it from happening?

They are calling this day, "the worst attack since Pearl Harbor." It was, in fact, worse than Pearl Harbor. This was not a military base. Among these were innocent people at work, children in day-care, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, babies, grandparents and friends. With the attack of Pearl Harbor, we knew who to go after. Right now we are unsure. We don't even know where the top suspect is. We know that he moves around every three days. We know that Afghanistan's Taliban leaders have offered him asylum. We know that this is his style. We know that he sees America as "the head of the snake." We know he wants America out of the picture. We know that this is going to be a long battle.

The President calls for retaliation. "America will not stand for this." How long until we can feel safe on our own streets and in our own homes again? How long until the entire world ceases to attack America, and other countries, and world peace reigns?

September 11, 2001. World Peace Day. Date: 9-11. Coincidence? Probably not. It took just one hour to wreak havoc on our country. It will be weeks until the final death toll is counted. More will be lost until then. Some will be crippled for the rest of their lives. None will forget. Another tragedy to add to the history books. This is something we are supposed to learn about, not remember.

Take a moment of silence. Think about how your life will never be the same. Remember that on the day before yesterday, we watched our favorite TV shows and ate dinner with the family, talked about sports or movies and what not. Think about how those of us who did not want Bush to be President of the United States will stand firmly behind him, now. Think about how nothing we do from this day forward will ever be the same, so long as we have the memory and fear of terrorist attack on our minds. Think about how the American lifestyle will change. Think about how none of this yet seems real. Think about how real it is. Pray, unceasingly, to God. God is here for us. He will not leave us in our time of desperation. He knows we need Him. And He will be here, as He already is.

God, be with us as we rebuild our nation. Be with us as we protect our people. Be with our soldiers if they must fight for us. Bring them home. Calm our fears and help us get through each day. Help us defeat this enemy, an enemy who is selfishly working for the devil. Give us the courage to accept our reality and grow from it. Help us get through this dark time. In Your name, Amen.

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